It’s been 14 weeks since my last blog post where I shared what I’d learned at the midway point of launching the Co-op Foundation’s new organisational strategy. And unbeknownst to me, a LOT can happen in such a short time
Did you know you can edit a video more than seven times? Alter launch plans and roadshow dates at least weekly? And change almost unnoticeable details of a new narrative three to four times a day?
It’s impressive, slightly silly and, for anyone who’s launched a new strategy before, probably no surprise. But for anyone who hasn’t, here’s my learning now that ‘Building communities of the future together’ is out there for the world to see.
Just please don’t find any typos.
What launching a new strategy taught us
Our new strategy was born as a result of the Co-op foundation wanting to live our values of building communities of the future, together. It directed us to fund organisations and young people directly to create fair communities in 10 years’ time built on co-operative values. It also directed us to ask young people to shape our vision as they’ll be the members, pioneers and leaders of the future communities we wanted to build.
You can read all about the strategy online and watch a recording of our launch webinar on YouTube. More than 300 people watched us on the day, which far surpassed our expectations. We’ve also received lovely feedback from the sector, which has made all our hard work totally worth it.
In August, I shared my learning at the mid-point of our comms planning. I explained that we’d actually been working on the strategy launch all year with seven different stages of output, including thought leadership blogging, creating marketing assets and planning an event roadshow.
Here’s a wrap up of our final successes and challenges:
1. Have different deadlines for content creation and marketing, and get ready to be agile
We launched our strategy on 12 October but the biggest day for our Comms team was 9 September because that was the deadline we’d set to finalise our animation, behind-the-scenes video, PDFs, merch orders and web copy. This early deadline left us four weeks to market our launch event and write our scripts. This was useful as we were still changing event plans a couple of weeks beforehand, and it meant we could be agile to the needs of our stakeholders.
2. Be ready for tech to fail
We planned an event roadshow to communicate our new strategy, including previews for high-value Co-op Directors, an in-real-life merchandise giveaway for Co-op colleagues and our official launch webinar on Teams. This gave us a chance to hone our scripts but it, unfortunately, didn’t mean our tech was fool-proof. In fact, our opening video didn’t play at our final – and biggest – event. Cue lots of confused faces and scrambling around from us. Get online before the audience does to test the sound.
3. Plan integration comms early on
It’s one thing supporting everyone to be on message on launch day, but it’s another to keep this going moving forwards. We have lots of colleagues at the Foundation who aren’t communications specialists and it’s up to the Comms team to help them use our narrative and brand voice effectively. We should have been planning this before launch but we fell behind due to capacity, which means we’re catching up now on training. Get this in the diary early.
4. Learn from your KPIs
I’m including this as a reminder for me, more than anything. We asked everyone who attended our launch event to fill in an evaluation form to review our webinar and comms. We’ll also host a wash-up with members of our strategy comms working group to review learning. It’s essential that this informs future work.
True, our comms team breathed a sigh of relief once we closed off our official launch webinar, but we all know it’s just the start of delivering our incredible new strategy.
Contact me on LinkedIn or Twitter if you’d like to know more about what we did, and why. You can also keep up to date with Co-op Foundation by signing up to our blog.
Catch up on Part 1 of Andy’s blog ‘Learning from launching a new organisational strategy – the midway point’ .